A trio of fat, lazy mallards

March 26, 2021 • 5:00 pm

In honor of Honey’s fame today, and because it was cold, Shmuley, Honey, and Dorothy were given three huge meals. I suspect the hens are hungry because they’re building up reserves for nesting, while Shmuley needs his energy to chase away interlopers.

There were no interlopers today, and the pond was peaceful. It was a good day. Honey still seems to be windowshopping, perhaps because red-tailed hawks have built a nest only about 40 feet away from the spot where she nested last year—on the wrong side of the building flanking the pond. I’ll be glad if she nests where she did two years ago: several floors up, on the pond side, and above soft dirt. That’s far enough from the hawks to make us worry a bit less.

Dinner was early as usual: about 2:30 p.m., and every duck ate like a pig. They wouldn’t stop gulping down duck pellets and mealworms!  Finally, when they were sated, they crawled onto the banks, crops swollen with food, preened a bit, and immediately sacked out.

Here they are in what we call “dumpling mode.”  Left to right: Dorothy, Honey (bill under her wing, as it was chilly) and Shmuley. iPhone photo by Jean Greenberg.

Look at those swollen crops!

What adventures lie ahead this season?

12 thoughts on “A trio of fat, lazy mallards

  1. I hope you realise, Jerry, that you can never leave that university while Honey keeps returning. Even after you have passed on, your shade will haunt the pond.

    1. I’m trying to figure out a way to leave money to the University to take care of the ducks. But that doesn’t seem workable. I could donate a bench from which to watch the ducks, but that doesn’t help the ducks.

      1. The launch, via WEIT of course, of a crowdfunded “bucks for ducks” program(me) to supply duck chow and training/support for duck ranger volunteers might raise enough to look after the mallards of Botany Pond in perpecktuity?

        After all, waddle ya got to lose?

      2. I have seen a few really…. unusual endowments at the various uni’s I have worked at and attended. An endowed fellowship-annual- in zoology for an upperclass undergrad or a masters student with basic care for the waterfowl and study in the urban environment as a condition? The difference between a donation and a designated endowment is significant.

        1. What about a private fellowship to a graduate student chosen for an appropriately pro-duck mindset–$1000 a semester or so for the duration of their career, to be used for all necessary duck support and the remainder in compensation?

      3. Ceiling Cat willing, you’ll think of something. (You always do your best by the ducks.) If you do a specific post asking for advice, you might get ideas to think about in background mode.

        If Merlin Tuttle could do it for bats, who knows what you could accomplish for these modest mallards?

        1. There’s an endowment for fresh orchids in Regenstein Library (delivered every 6-8 weeks), you should be able to work something out for Botany Pond

    1. I don’t really think they’re fat; when they’re walking or swimming in the pond they look pretty normal. I think the photo above makes them LOOK fat because their crops are full and they’re all squished down while resting.

  2. Can there possibly be more drama than there was last year? A kidnapped brood, late-night heron raids, ducklings in foster care, and more. I hope it will be a more peaceful season.

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